The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is seeking public comment on the draft Recreation Management Plan (RMP) for the Big Moose Tract Conservation Easement in the town of Webb, Herkimer County, NY. [Read more…] about Adirondacks’ Big Moose Tract Comments Sought
Strange hat isn’t it! One of the community-building activities on our lake in Big Moose, New York, is a Fourth of July “Poet’s Potluck,” an event hosted by the Conable family. [Read more…] about “Running the Rapids” by Twitchell Lake’s Poet Laureate
The illustrious career of William Collins Whitney (1841-1904) was chronicled in a New York City social diary titled “The Gilded Age Billionaires”: “His political star rose right along with his business ventures … and he eventually entered national politics through Grover Cleveland’s Administration where he was Secretary of the Navy.” [Read more…] about A Short History of Logging Whitney Preserve in the Adirondacks
The history of lumbering in the Adirondacks and in America is replete with legendary exploits. There were the championship sled loads each camp paraded, claiming theirs carried the most cords of stacked timber in one season.
There were the annual woodsman’s field days for each region in which lumberjacks showed off their cutting skills. And then there was the most dangerous job of all, that of the “river pigs” as they were called. These log drivers freed tangled logs and guided them downstream for milling.
One legendary feat in logging history happened on the Beaver River on a Sunday, April 27th, in 1913. [Read more…] about A Legendary Adirondack River Driver
“Toponym” is the technical term for a place name, especially one derived from a topographical feature. I’m hooked on toponyms. My starting point is Twitchell Lake in Big Moose, located in the town Webb, Herkimer County, NY, in the Adirondacks where six generations of my family have vacationed in a cabin since the early 1900s.
Debate on our lake’s name has reached a crescendo as a history committee collects our stories for a Twitchell book. This article explores the fascinating connection between our lake’s name and the Twitchell family of Copenhagen, in Lewis County, NY. This map traces the 50-mile route from Copenhagen through Lewis County, across the Black River, and then up the Number Four Road into the Adirondack Mountains. Which leads to my question: How on earth did this dairy farming family get its name attached to this lake? [Read more…] about The Naming of Twitchell Lake in the Adirondacks
After Hudson River logging sharply declined by 1905, the Adirondack railroad line known as the Mohawk & Malone kept NYS lumber companies in business for at least another twelve years. A big part of this was due to logging north of Big Moose, shown on this New York Central & Hudson River railroad map, with eight station stops northward toward Tupper Lake (shown at left), three of them as junctions for logging railroads — Wood’s Lake, Brandreth, and Nehasane.
Beaver River Station was shifting from logging to tourism. Little Rapids was a flag stop, Keepawa unlisted in an 1895 train schedule. This article will describe the logging history of Wood’s Lake and Beaver River stations, beginning with a new lumbering operation just north of Big Moose. [Read more…] about Adirondack Logging History: Wood’s Lake & Beaver River Stations
History often makes a muddle of people’s lives. One such example is Charles H. Smith (ca. 1832 – 1911) of Petries Corners in the town of Watson, Lewis County, NY. Charles was well known as an Adirondack guide in the Beaver River/Stillwater area of the Western Adirondacks.
He lived to a ripe old age as an elder statesman of the guiding fraternity. But confusing reports of his age, a story about guiding for royalty, and a common first and last name have obscured his actual accomplishments. [Read more…] about History Corrected: Adirondack Guide Charles H Smith & King Edward VII
The spark that got me writing about Adirondack history was the personal question of how my family came into possession of a log cabin on Twitchell Lake in Big Moose, NY. Unraveling this mystery took a year’s research — searching newly discovered diaries and networking with genealogy contacts.
It turns out my connection began with a love story, which I told in the New York Almanack. That account included the accompanying photo of my grandparents’ wedding in Buffalo, NY, in 1908. This article will explore how the hamlet of Big Moose supported the growth of thriving summer communities on Twitchell and Big Moose Lakes, setting the stage for major logging operations on Big Moose Lake. Early in this era, 60 percent of Twitchell’s lakeshore was slated for major logging before going up for sale as summer lots. [Read more…] about Big Moose As A Lumber & Tourist Hub (1900-1920)
Born in England, John Gerald Fitzgerald (1850-1925) attended seminary in Troy, NY, accepting his first assignment as a priest in the Diocese of Ogdensburg. Following pastorates in upstate New York, Father Fitz – as he was affectionately called – was given the daunting challenge of establishing a parish in Old Forge, in the Adirondacks.
In 1896, Northern Herkimer County was a heavily forested region dotted by tiny hamlets, scattered lumber camps, and remote railroad stations along the Mohawk & Malone Railroad. For the next twenty-nine years, he got off the Mohawk & Malone at stations like McKeever, Carter, Big Moose, Beaver River, Brandreth, Keepewa, Nehasane, and Horseshoe Lake, carrying his bible and sacraments from these stops to remote lumber camps on snowshoes, wearing his trademark coonskin cap and woolen mittens. His parish stretched over a 200 square-mile area. [Read more…] about Along The Mohawk & Malone: Forest Fires & Logging South of Big Moose (1900-1920)
After achieving his railroad dream and completing his Nehasane wilderness refuge – reachable using his own luxury rail car – William Seward Webb found himself in a major conflict with the State of New York.
Inlet historian Charles Herr tells this part of the story expertly, in his history of the Fulton Chain. My map here highlights that land aquisition by the State in yellow, totaling 74,585 acres of Brown’s Tract and in the Totten & Crossfield Purchase. Webb retained ownership of lakes like Twitchell and Big Moose because he intended those for later cottage and hotel sales. [Read more…] about Central Adirondacks Lumbering Operations (1880-1900)